We’re already well into 2012 , which means we will have time for at most 48 more of these weekly music app roundups, according to the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, until the world explodes in a cataclysmic Mayan fireball or otherwise ceases to exist — all because, 3,000 years ago, no one had the foresight to write down enough days.
It’s a bummer, but you can always relive the glory of music apps with past installments of This Week in Music Apps, or comfort yourself with our most-read stories of 2011. More that likely, though, everything is going to be just fine.
On a less gloomy note, we have some pretty cool picks for you this week, and even more in our ever-expanding directory of music apps on nearly every platform, which is a great way to explore the wide range of wares available in the various app stores. As usual, we’ll kick off this list with the app reviews you may have missed since last week’s installment, then it’s on to our weekly picks for Apple iOS, Google Android, and the web.
- Tabletop Puts a Studio’s Worth of Gear on the iPad
- Gliss Creates Music Like MS Paint: Just Draw What You Want to Hear
- Talkapella Turns Talking into Songs with Four-Part Harmony
- Shazam Launches Music Player with Real-Time Lyrics
AirMusic ($3): If you like AirPlay’s ability to stream music to your home entertainment system(s) wirelessly, but don’t want to shell out for AirPlay-compatible speakers, you can use this three-dollar app to broadcast your tunes from iOS sans cables to any PS3, XBox 360, or any other Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compatible device.
mScribble (free): We’ve noticed a clear trend towards feature-heavy music-making apps like Tabletop for iPad, which are designed with real musicians in mind, but there’s also a marked interest in apps that make music almost in spite of themselves through shaking, swiping, or other unorthodox inputs — sort of like fingerpainting with music. mScribble, like the Gliss app we reviewed earlier, lets you scribble out generative music. It even offers a Toddler Mode as an in-app purchase, so you can hand your iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch off to your tot, safe in the knowledge that they won’t accidentally send 13 emails to your boss or buy $1500-worth of “fish bucks.”
Band of the Day (free; pictured): This mobile-only music magazine — part of another big app trend of late — delivers a fresh artist to discover each day, along with reviews and streams of their popular tracks; videos; photos; and other goodies. Band of the Day was a runner-up for Apple’s 2011 App of the Year, which is a nice mark of distinction. In addition to offering a great way to find new tunes, this is, cosmetically-speaking, one of the better-designed mobile magazines we’ve seen.
ProjectM Music Visualizer ($2): ProjectM brings the popular Milkdrop Winamp visualizer to Android, with some enhancements. This app can respond to any audio source, be it the music you’re currently playing on your Android, or whatever your phone’s microphone input. Neat! ProjectM can also be set as a live wallpaper, and you can connect it to your TV to, as one reviewer aptly put it, “make [your] living room look boss.”
iTunes to Android Sync (WiFi) ($1): This app solves the problem of syncing iTunes music to an Android phone or tablet more economically than the competition. (The popular Tunesync app, one of our early picks for this function, is priced at six bucks.) One drawback: The app currently only supports Windows computers running iTunes, not Macs. Otherwise, if your tie to Apple is iTunes as opposed to the Mac OS, this helps you bring your music over to your droid, one playlist at a time.
Grooveshark: Despite being sued by record labels, again — and having its mobile apps dropped from the iTunes and Android app stores for allegedly illegally distributing music without permission, Grooveshark nonetheless released a mobile-optimized HTML5 app this past week. To me, something still smells fishy with these guys (pun half-intended). But if you’re one of the countless die-hard Grooveshark fans who can’t stomach the thought of not being able to access it on an iPhone or any other smartphone, this mobile web app is a solid option.